Report: Fertitta brothers Sell Remaining UFC Stake, Signaling End Of An Era
Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are no longer a part of the UFC.
The casino magnates and former UFC co-owners, who bought the promotion for $2 million in 2001, have “fully divested” from the promotion, according to a report today from Forbes, which cited a source with knowledge of the sale.
A UFC representative declined a request to confirm the news to MMAjunkie.
The Fertittas had retained a combined 5.8 percent stake in the company – initially characterized as a “passive minority interest” – through the UFC’s sale to entertainment giant WME-IMG in July 2016. But they sold that stake this past month, getting a 26 percent markup based on a new $5 billion valuation of the company.
Apart from a few banner events in UFC 202 and UFC 207, the promotion hit a rocky stretch just five months after the sale. It struggled mightily to fill its early 2017 schedule with bankable attractions because of the absence of Conor McGregor, its biggest star, and the assumed retirement of ex-champ Ronda Rousey.
The trend, however, reversed starkly when the promotion attached itself to the blockbuster “Money Fight,” which reportedly is trending to break the all-time pay-per-view buy record of 4.6 million. According to UFC President Dana White, the event drew a staggering 6.5 million buys. Lorenzo Fertitta reportedly played a part in negotiations.
Despite that, White said Fertitta still watches the fights. After a botched ending at UFC 211, the former UFC chairman texted him and demanded that instant replay be improved.
The Fertittas also donate plenty of money to causes near and dear. A new UNLV football facility approved today was funded by a reported $10 million donation from the Fertittas, whose name is emblazoned across the building’s facade. Nicco Fertitta, son of Lorenzo, is a UNLV alum.
This article first appeared on MMA Junkie.